Back to news

A Fifth of Ukrainians in the Country’s East and South Support Donbas’ Autonomy – New Survey

July 3 – Thirty-seven percent of Ukrainians in non-occupied parts of eastern and southern Ukraine believe the central government in Kyiv should exclusively govern Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts which was the case prior to the start of the war in the spring of 2014. This represents an increase of seven percentage points from last year.

This is the primary conclusion of a survey administered by the Institute of Mass Information. The poll, “What the Future of Donbas Should Be?,” was conducted in the first quarter of this year by the GfK Ukraine survey research firm with support from the USAID Ukraine Confidence Building Initiative.

Nineteen percent of respondents support full or partial autonomy for the Donbas, a drop in support from last year when 22 percent supported such as change. Only two percent of those interviewed support a complete transfer of the Donbas to Russia, a one percent decrease from last year. And seven percent of respondents believe Donbas should be independent, down from eight percent last year.

Eight percent of residents interviewed believe Donbas should be divided into two areas — Ukrainian-controlled and non-Ukrainian-controlled. Almost one-third of residents could not make a choice about Donbas governance or refused to answer the survey. This is slightly less than those who were unable or refused to answer the survey last year.

Residents of Donetsk and Kharkiv Oblasts [Regions], at 23 percent each, were most likely to believe that the Donbas should have some form of autonomy from Kyiv; 22 percent of Luhansk Oblast residents expressed this sentiment. Twelve percent of the respondents from the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast support full independent status for the Donbas, the most support of any oblast [region] surveyed.

Kharkiv and Donetsk Oblast residents were the least responsive with 43 percent and 39 percent, respectively, either unable to provide a clear opinion on the future of Donbas or refusing to answer the question.

The survey was conducted by the GfK Company January through March of 2017 in eight southern and eastern Ukraine oblasts and in the cities of Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhya, Mykolaiv, Kherson, and Odesa. Territory in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts controlled by the Ukrainian government was also covered. More than 15,000 respondents (15,103) participated in the survey.

The margin of error does not exceed one percent for the entire survey sample and does not exceed 2.5 percent for each oblast.

The survey was first conducted from November 2015 to January 2016 and covered 13,830 respondents in six southern and eastern Ukraine oblasts and in Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhya, and Odesa. During this time, territory in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts controlled by the Ukrainian government was sampled.

More on the Institute for Mass Information’s website in Ukrainian.